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The Queen’s Royal Lancers

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British combat photographers only drop camera if enemy fire 'hits …

Cpl. Jamie Peters RLC “Sunset Soldiers”: Armyrats © Military specialists from 21 Engineer Regiment deconstruct a building at Patrol Base Nahidullah in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, at sunset. The base was completely stripped down and the land handed back to a farmer.

By Baruch Ben-Chorin, Producer, NBC News British troops engaged in a Close Quarters Marksmanship training exercise. The short film, produced by Sgt. Lloyd, was the winner in the video category of the British army’s annual photographic competition.

LONDON No one is closer to life in the Armyrats © military than the troops themselves, so there are few who can capture their images as intimately. The British Army employs a small group of combat Armyrats © military photographers only 37 in the whole army to capture life on the front lines. The soldiers go through an eight-month-long intensive photojournalism training course before they’re turned out into the field.

Up till now, the British Army has largely kept their photographers’ work to themselves. But this week winning entries in the British Army Photographic Competition went on display to the public. The photos show different aspects of army life, operations, portraits, training and of course, the ceremonial duties unique to the British military.

Cpl. Jamie Peters, who once served in the British Army Royal Corps of Engineers, won the overall competition for a portfolio of images he shot during a six-month deployment in Afghanistan. His and his colleagues’ images are on display at London’s National Army Museum 1 . ”We do get a lot of freedom to interpret how best to show the stories ourselves,” he said in an interview with NBCNews.com. “Personally I prefer to cover the life in the army For instance the ‘Sunset Soldiers’ were engineers who were there taking down the infrastructure that the guys had set up in that place and returning it to the land-owner. “Because I used to be a Royal Engineer, I know how hard these guys work during those operations working dawn-till-dusk, with full body armor and helmets, really, really tough manual labor so I sympathized with the guys who were up on top of that roof.” Cpl.Jamie Peters RLC “Hot Under the Collar”: A Armyrats © Military Working Dog (MWD) attached to the Welsh Guards takes a rest from the heat under an umbrella during an operation in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Cpl. Jamie Peters RLC “Celtic Warrior”: Pvt. Ross Cunningham, from Delta Company The 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland (1SCOTS), cleans his personal weapon at Forward Operating Base Shawqat after a patrol to an Afghan National Army checkpoint.

1SCOTS, affectionately known as “The Jocks,” mentor and advise the Afghan National Army in conducting operations within Helmand Province. Peters, 34, is one of the elite group of British combat Armyrats © military photographers. “Because there are so few of us competitively we all try to outdo each other, and that keeps the standard very high,” he said. “Every bomb is different” said Sgt. James Slade, describing how he deals with Improvised Explosive Devices.

This short film, produced by Sgt. Lloyd, was the runner-up in the video category of the British army’s annual photographic competition. Peters was embedded with a unit in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province when he took the “Celtic Warrior” photograph of a Scottish soldier cleaning his rifle.

The image won best overall image in the competition. “When we returned to base after patrol the guys just clean their rifles and get their equipment ready in case they need to go straight out in a hurry,” he said. “That’s the thing with being a photographer: When all the guys are back on their down time you still have a job to do; you are photographing that as well.” When it comes to the dangers of combat, Peters and his colleagues have an advantage over civilian photographers. “Because we are Armyrats © military photographers we know what to do when we get shot at and we know what’s going to happen next,” he said. That doesn’t mean Peters and his colleagues are there to get into a fight, however. “The only time that we would put the camera down and pick up the rifle is if there is enemy fire that comes close to you and hits close to you.” See more images from the competition below. Cpl Wes Calder RLC “Powder Room”: Pvt.

Craig Leaman from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1 PWRR) clears part of a trench system during a dawn attack while on Exercise Askari Thunder 6 in Kenya. Sgt. Rupert Frere RLC “Carl”: Cpl.

Carl Hines Royal Artillery provides covering fire while members of the 4 Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) cross open ground on Operation QALB. QALB is a joint ISAF and ANSF operation to find enemy caches and disturb insurgent supply chains in Afghanistan. Tropper Chris Wade “Snap VCP”: Two soldiers and an interpreter from the Queen’s Royal Lancers (QRL) question a motorcyclist in northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan, while his young daughter looks on.

Sgt. Adrian Harlen “Changing of Queen’s Life Guard” (left): The Life Guards of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR) ride in Horse Guards Parade in London despite frosty winter weather that disrupted much of the capital.”The Baroness” (right): Brig. Maj.

Lt. Col. Simon Soskin stands between the pillars at St.

Paul’s Cathedral in London during the funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. Sgt. Adrian Harlen “Goodbye Kiss”: Capt.

Charlie Fitzroy, Troop Leader of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, gets a farewell kiss from Thomas, a 22-year-old gelding who was retiring after 19 years of service.

Thomas was famous for giving kisses to the men of the Life Guard Squadron in his stables at Hyde Park Barracks in London.

References ^ National Army Museum (www.nam.ac.uk)

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British combat photographers only drop camera if enemy fire 'hits …

Freedom of the city for Queen's Royal Lancers and Stoke City

STOKE City Football Club is to be awarded the Freedom of Stoke-on-Trent. The accolade is also to be handed out to the Queen’s Royal Lancers by Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The honorary award is in recognition of their ‘exceptional’ contributions to the community.

Councillor Mohammed Pervez, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “The regiment has made a massive contribution to keeping our country, our city and our people safe.

Their commitment and bravery allows us to live our lives in freedom and build a brighter future for our children. “Stoke City Football Club is another bastion of the city’s great traditions of service.” As seen on tv (Don’t wake the tiger advert) the brand new quiet Bosch cleaners now come with a 50 cashback for a limited time.

Terms: Cashback by redemption, please ask for details Contact: Via www.hylands.tv Valid until: Saturday, November 30 2013 A motion to approve the awards will go before a full meeting of the council on October 17 before a ceremony is held at the Britannia Stadium on December 4.

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Freedom of the city for Queen's Royal Lancers and Stoke City

Christmas in Afghanistan with soldiers of the Royal Dragoon Guards …

Reporter Kevin Shoesmith with soldiers of the Royal Dragoon Guards in Afghanistan … CHRISTMAS music plays on an iPod docking station inside the cramped interior of a Mastiff as we trundle along Route 604. Wonderful Christmastime: Corporal Robert Littlefair.

MAKING A MEAL OF IT: Royal Dragoons Guards enjoy a turkey dinner on Christmas Day in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. TRADITION: Corporal David Brooke, of Hull, unloads Christmas gifts. A poster of Percy from Thomas the Tank Engine is taped on the inside of the vehicle, now speeding past motorbikes and farmers shepherding goats in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

A convoy of Army vehicles is taking Lieutenant-Colonel Jamie Piggott, commanding officer of the Royal Dragoon Guards, to see his men dotted around remote patrol bases and checkpoints to wish them a merry Christmas. Through the intercom, Corporal Robert Littlefair, 29, sings along to Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmas Time, his feet tapping the dusty floor of the vehicle. Cpl Littlefair’s head and shoulders poke through a hatch as he scans the countryside, machinegun at the ready, for any Taliban hiding among mud and straw compounds.

This year, there are signs of progress, with Afghan security forces increasingly taking over the reins from the British Army, but Christmas is also a time to reflect on the 46 British soldiers killed this year. Despite the festive atmosphere inside the Mastiff, Corporal Littlefair would much rather be on Preston Road estate in east Hull with his wife Kirsty and their one-year-old daughter, Chloe. “It’s hard being away, especially at Christmas,” he says, climbing down from the turret as we arrive at Patrol Base Shawqat, scene of an “insider” attack last month when a 1 Scots officer was shot dead by a member of the Afghan National Police. “I miss my wife and my little girl. I’ve been watching her grow on Facebook but it’s not the same.

Chloe is walking now she took her first steps just before I came out here. “I just hugged Chloe and told her Daddy would get her lots of toys when he gets home.” His wife found the goodbye upsetting. “Kirsty was bawling her eyes out,” he says. “She knows it’s my job but it doesn’t make it any easier. I try to talk to her as often as I can out here in Afghanistan.” Cpl Littlefair, along with three other East Yorkshire soldiers, form part of the commanding officer’s Rover Group. They are charged with protecting him during visits to outlying patrol bases and checkpoints deep inside Helmand Province. “With the amount of miles we cover, the biggest threat to us is probably improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by the Taliban,” he says. “But there is also the threat from gunfire.

You have to stay switched on all the time out here.” Lance Corporal Brian Rodgers, 24, of Beverley, is driving a Foxhound, another type of armoured vehicle, behind us, keeping a distance to make the convoy less of a target and to minimise casualties if one of the vehicles triggers a bomb. During a stop at Patrol Base Shawqat in Nad-e-Ali district, Lance Corporal Rodgers talks about his wife Samantha and their son Jacob, who was born on October 14 at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital. “I missed the birth,” he says. “But we knew I would before I arrived in Afghanistan. “When I found out Samantha had had the baby, the lads all got me a congratulations card, which was nice of them. I just wanted to get home, but couldn’t.” Christmas in Afghanistan: Troops’ festive messages to East Yorkshire families Tribute to fallen hero Corporal Matthew Stenton L/cpl Rodgers arrived home for two weeks’ leave on November 27. “It was a really emotional moment holding him for the first time,” he says. “It was very hard leaving him.

I remember sitting on the sofa, just not wanting to leave.” But return he did. Sitting down on a bench at the patrol base, where soldiers live alongside Afghan National Police, Lieutenant-Colonel Piggott delivers an overview of the mission. “The majority of the regiment are working in the Police Mentoring Advisory Group,” he says, shielding his eyes from the sun, which is strong even in winter. “It comprises 11 different units that have come together in order to develop and professionalise the Afghan police. “We are, effectively, a bespoke force, and our focus is on assisting the police so they can provide security to the community within central Helmand Province.” A few metres away from where we are talking is a sports pitch where the soldier was killed by an Afghan policeman during a football match on Remembrance Sunday. Lieutenant-Colonel Piggott admits insider attacks are a source of worry for soldiers and their families. “I worry, as a commander, about it,” he says. “I also worry about other risks such as IEDs and small arms attacks. “But we need to put it into perspective.

There are thousands of interactions with the Afghans every day. We live alongside the Afghans and have not had any incidents. I trust them.” A captain with the Queen’s Royal Lancers, another unit that falls under the umbrella of the Police Mentoring Advisory Team, points at a window. “An Afghan policeman could easily chuck a grenade at us from one of those windows,” he says. “It’s about trust.” But the figures speak for themselves 14 British servicemen have been killed this year by rogue policemen.

That is almost a third of the total number of fatalities.

Lieutenant-Colonel Piggott is confident his Royal Dragoon Guards will leave a positive legacy. “If you take the change seen since our last tour of Afghanistan in 2010 and project it to 2014, it cannot be anything but positive,” he says.

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Christmas in Afghanistan with soldiers of the Royal Dragoon Guards …